Durban - Ntombizodwa Mahlangu almost gave up on her dreams, but through perseverance, and sheer determination, she not only succeeded, but now wants to pay it forward and help others.
Mahlangu, who started her work life as a domestic worker, obtained her BA degree in Human and Social Studies from Unisa in 2018 and now wants to pay it forward by assisting others through her non-profit organisation, Help One Helper.
The Mpumalanga local had always dreamt of pursuing higher education but faced numerous obstacles in her way.
These included a lack of resources and development in rural areas, a poor education system, financial difficulties, and an unplanned pregnancy in 2004.
Due to pregnancy, Mahlangu had to sadly pass on an opportunity to pursue her studies at Tshwane University of Technology.
She opted to start working as a domestic worker in 2007 to provide for her child, following in the footsteps of her mother, who was also in the profession.
“I could not chase my dream of becoming an electrical engineer during that time because there was no one to take care of my daughter. That is why I decided to become a domestic worker when she turned two years old,” said Mahlangu.
According to Mahlangu, with the low salary, long working hours, and being isolated from her daughter, she found the work, and her situation challenging.
She decided to have her eyes set on a brighter future during this time, and taught herself to use Microsoft Office, learned to drive, and even found employment as a receptionist.
Working her way up, she got employment as a personal assistant and a public relations officer at a large organisation in the debt regulation industry.
Her employer saw her potential along with the struggle to pay for studies, and helped her study part-time in 2014.
Mahlangu said she found her source of strength through her faith, daughter, and other phenomenal women who inspired her.
She is now launching a non-profit company, Help One Helper, to help others like her.
Through this initiative, she aims to empower helpers (domestic workers, gardeners, nannies, and handymen), to achieve their full potential and change their lives for the better.
“Our main objective at Help One Helper is to identify helpers who are passionate about education, and provide information and financial assistance to them.”
Mahlangu said the initiative will provide support, and knowledge on how to build willpower to persevere and achieve goals.
Those wanting to support Help One Helper and revive helpers’ dreams can visit www.helpeonehelper.org and make donations in various ways.
Mahlangu has since written a book, Brightness of Diamonds through Soil, which chronicles her inspirational journey. The ebook is available on Amazon.